From the Klondike to Berlin: The Yukon in the First World War

Michael Gates
2017 Northern Review  
The par cipa on of the Yukon in the First World War is a neglected part of northern history. For four years, the people of the Yukon, young and old, men and women, from all walks of life, became ac vely involved. A quarter of the popula on enlisted and fought in many of the major ba les of the war; many came back as heroes, while others never came home at all. Those who remained at home were heavily commi ed to King and Empire. Women of the Yukon volunteered for service, raised funds for the
more » ... ed funds for the war eff ort, and became socially ac ve in such causes as prohibi on and suff rage. Yukoner Joe Boyle dis nguished himself in Russia during the war by fi nancing a machine gun ba ery of fi y men, then volunteering to save the crown jewels and na onal treasury of Romania, nego a ng an interna onal treaty between Russia and Romania, and establishing a spy network. Robert Service, the Bard of the Yukon, volunteered as an ambulance driver and later penned the best-selling book of poetry of his long career. Individual acts of courage led to two men from the Yukon receiving the Victoria Cross, and many others receiving other honours. George Black, the commissioner of the Yukon, volunteered for service, bringing 250 Yukon men with him to the ba lefi elds of France. Martha Black, his wife, accompanied him and became a mother fi gure to the men overseas and a Yukon goodwill ambassador. Many acts of commemora on and remembrance followed the war. This ar cle is part of a special collec on of papers originally presented at "
doi:10.22584/nr44.2017.002 fatcat:itd2raqk4bak5c3ppjy53hmf4i